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Maize farmers in Kirinyaga urged to embrace crop insurance

Farmers  in Kirinyaga County have been urged to embrace a project that aims to cushion them against future crop failure.

The  project, Kenya Agriculture Insurance Programme (KAIP) is a government project and aims to mitigate against climate change for food security purposes.

The  Kirinyaga County Director of Agriculture, Benson  Mukungo said farmers who take up the project will be at an advantage because the project will subsidise the farmers by 50 percent in the event of an entire crop failure.

“The project is meant to make sure the farmer does not lose the crop entirely and makes it possible to prepare to plant  the next season,” Mukungo said.

Mukungo  made the remarks during a one-day training for the county extension officers held at Kutus hotel in Kirinyaga County on Monday.

He  said the subsidy project will only benefit farmers involved in the cultivation of parcels extending from a quarter
acre (1/4) to a maximum of 20 acres.

“Anything less, there will be no provision and therefore I urged all the farmers in Kirinyaga to try and measure up to the set conditions in order to be beneficiaries of the project” he said.

He said farmers throughout the county will be sensitized over the project since they will be required to pay some small amount of money as a way of insuring the maize crops.

“We are intending to carry out three barazas in every ward on how they are supposed to register for the subsidy programme,”  Mukungo said.

He said the project started in 2016 in Kirinyaga West on a pilot  basis but now has been extended to all the other sub counties where farmers are growing maize.

“We  will only be sensitizing farmers from areas that grow maize, areas popular with rice growing like Nyangati will be omitted out,” Mukungo said.

Jane Kioko, an agricultural officer from the State Department of Agriculture said the subsidy is determined by carrying out an assessment and payouts arrived from the data collected.

She said the assessment involves data from farmers on how many sacks they have been harvesting for the last ten years in a given unit, if they get less, they are to receive the compensation.

“All a farmer is required to do is to register and pay some small amount of money, in the event of crop failure the
government through a consortium of insurances will compensate the farmers.”

She said incidents have occurred where farmers have suffered 100% loss which would not have occurred if they were under the KAIP project.

“I think you can see the importance of this project, which makes sure that a farmer cannot get zero from their
undertakings,” she said.

Kioko said the training was in readiness for the officers to go out and educate the farmers on the crop insurance for maize during this long rain season.

“Already there are predictions that the rains may not be enough, what will the farmers who have invested their capital do in the event of a total crop failure; they need a soft landing provided for by KAIP project” she said.

She said the project works like other government projects which provide subsidy for the farmers like in the provision of  the fertilizer and other farm inputs.

The agricultural officer said the government is able to cater for 50% of the premium, which is determined by the size of the land and the harvest from that unit area.

Kioko  said Kirinyaga County has been divided into different units depending on the areas productivity level which is then used to compensate the farmers equitably.

She  said farmers  will be required  to  fill  a form and forward their registration payment  thorough Mpesa through the guidance of extension officers under the county government.

“Crop cutting, a system of assessing the yields randomly, picking a number of farms in the unit and comparing the result with the long term average will be employed,” She said.

She said if the farmer gets above the long term average, the yield is deemed to be okey in that unit area.

“Compensation is therefore done in terms of the difference of the yields and takes up to a month for the farmer to receive his or her cash” Kioko said

She said the startup of the barazas will start beginning May this year, with the county government involved in assisting the sales people who will be carrying out the actual listing of the farmers.

Kioko said the extension officers from the county government will play a big role in the success of the subsidy project in that they know their way around their areas of jurisdictions.

The officers are also supposed to make sure they advise the farmers on the best crop husbandry to ensure the crops do  well.

The  KAIP  Programme was created by the government of Kenya and the State Department of Crop Development
to protect farmers against losses suffered due to crop failure on account of yield shortfall.

The programme is implemented by 7 insurance companies in 33 selected counties,

The  government will subsidize 50 percent of the insurance premium for maize for every farmer who enlists for the
programme.

By  Irungu  Mwangi

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